Jerin Anne Jacob
It brew a bout of perky alacrity each time –
running up and down with feverish urgency
pausing just a bit, to tiptoe around appa’s room
only to then break into a swift sprint again…
Cooking his favourite kappa meen was a ritual of dried love,
one that I was always eager to help amma with.
Each step was a vintage rite, observed with precise devotion,
every bit like the exquisite church liturgy we attended that dawn.
We finally summoned the household, to break cassava bread
dipped in blood red, tangy-spicy, coconut gravy fish – wine.
My soaring excitement on a steady rise as
I oversaw the table ordained, set with childish solemnity.
I steadied to get the betoken customary spread, extra careful steps
making my way to the family tabernacle when I twitched,
ouch! groan. The little toe had hit the ancient table’s leg, again.
Appa snatched the plate from me before it could fall flat, sacrilege,
And settled a crying child into his old, sunken lap
That was the first day we bent tradition,
as I broke bread, a sacrament of non-compliant family alliance
sourced back to a pithy toe-story.
kappa meen: a popular tapioca and fish curry combination dish of Kerala